Album Review: Purity Ring, Shrines

Canada is known for loving their strong bier and the sport of hockey. Lately, I have been loving the electronically hip music that they have been sending south of the border through the airwaves. Purity Ring is one of these bands that has been making my ears go fully erect. They are out of Montreal and have been slowly seducing their fans by releasing a single here and there over the past few years.

Their debut album, Shrines, comes out on July 24th but I was able to get my hands on it at their show this past Sunday night at First Avenue in Minneapolis. The album adds 7 fresh tracks to the previous 4 singles that have been floating about the worldwide web. Throughout the 11-track full-length album the elctro-pop duo provides a perfect blend of new wave digital beats along with beautiful lyrical melodies.

If you are familiar with Purity Ring you are filled with an excitement as you first hit play. If you are not it does not take long after “Crawlerspace”, the initial track off of Shrines, starts for you to be filled with pure and total jubilation. The track slowly eases you in and gives off a subtle chill wave feel. In a way, I think the first track is telling you to protect yourself from the craziness that is the world we are encompassed in.

The second track “Fineshrine” is another mellow track that touches your heart. If you watch the video for the single it seems that he is living through her memory even though she is the one in an apparent coma. It is an emotional video to match a very emotional song. “Ungirthed”, the third track, has a little more bounce in its step. It has elements in the beat that remind me of mashing buttons on a Super Nintendo. When “Amenamy” starts up you know Purity Ring is getting back to being more grown up. The beat just feels more serious after the more playful beat on “Ungirthed”.

The next 2 tracks are my least 2 favorite on the album. “Grandloves” is a slow and somber attempt at a love song, maybe? It just is a little too slow and somber for my liking. Although, it is a good way to slow down the album and give it a different sound with Corin Roddick joining Megan James on the vocals. Then “Cartographist” is another track that is just really dark and has a slow tempo. Again, it feels as if you are watching molasses seep slowly from a tree. It feels as if I should be on a never-ending acid trip that I am just waiting for something good to happen.

From “Belispeak” on the album picks back up to my liking. “Belispeak” has more of an in-your-face sound and talks about the inability to sleep. A lot of the album talks about the inability to sleep soundly. They slow it down with “Saltkin” but it has more of a dreamy feel to this toned down track. I like when their songs take this route rather than the dark somberness of “Cartographist”. The next track “Obedear” may be my favorite from start to finish. It starts like a nice daybreak would and then eases you into the beat at the 18 second mark. The high-pitched, bell-like, beat keeps the rhythm throughout this well put together track.

For the last two tracks the band slows it’s tempo, again. This time on “Lofticries” they do it very well this time around. It has a slow tempo and a darker sound but they keep elements in the track to keep it more dreamy again. A good way to describe the album is as a dream that you do not know if you want to wake from or keep on sleeping. In the last track, “Shuck”, they really slow it down and make it more about Megan James singing than anything else. It is a very good way to close out their first full-length album. Overall, Purity Ring’s first album is a very succesful and well put together album from front to back.

Purity Ring reminds me of a toned down Crystal Castles. Their music does not hit as hard and Megan James sings while Alice Glass does a lot more screaming. If you are into electronic music with a subtle pop touch, you should enjoy the new Purity Ring album.

Album Release Date: July 24, 2012


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